Tesla, BYD Break China Delivery Records as EV Rivalry Goes Global

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and its Chinese rival BYD Co. have each smashed their monthly records for China electric vehicle deliveries as global competition between the world’s biggest new-energy car makers increases.

Tesla, the world’s largest electric vehicle maker, shipped more than 83,000 Model 3 and Model Y models from its recently modernized Shanghai plant in September, according to data released Sunday by the China Passenger Car Association Show. The Elon Musk-controlled American EV maker was ahead of BYD in China before production was halted by Covid-19 outbreaks in the country.

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BYD shipped nearly 95,000 electric vehicles in September, a record for the Shenzhen-based company. BYD sales, including hybrids, totaled 201,000 units in September, also a record.

The rivalry between the world’s top EV companies intensified this year after BYD — which counts Mr. Musk’s billionaire Warren Buffett among its major investors — abandoned production of traditional gasoline-powered vehicles to focus fully on new energy cars.

Production capacity at the Tesla plant in Shanghai has recently been increased.


Qilai Shen/Bloomberg News

BYD has dominated the Chinese domestic market this year, defying supply chain disruptions and shortages of chips and raw materials for batteries that have plagued other manufacturers, including Tesla. The company’s monthly annual sales of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles have more than tripled this year on annual average.

Behind the growth is the company’s ability to manufacture its own batteries as well as many of the parts its vehicles use, ensuring stability along its supply chain.

Tesla, meanwhile, lost ground after experiencing production issues in Shanghai earlier this year due to Covid-19 lockdowns.

In July, Tesla suspended operations for several days to upgrade its assembly lines for increased production capacity. The Shanghai plant can now produce more than 750,000 units per year, the company said at the time.

Tesla announced last week that it shipped 343,830 electric vehicles worldwide in the quarter ended September 30. Vehicles from Shanghai accounted for about 54% of its global deliveries during the period, up from 44% in the second quarter, according to calculations based on the association’s data.

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As Tesla tussles with BYD in its home market, the Shenzhen-based automaker is also expanding overseas. Last week, German rental car provider Sixt SE announced that BYD will add several thousand electric vehicles to its fleet by the end of this year. The initial commitment will pave the way for the German company to purchase a total of 100,000 electric vehicles from BYD by the end of 2028, Sixt said.

BYD’s foray into Europe began by supplying electric buses for public transport in countries such as the UK, Sweden and Spain. Last year, the company exported 100 Tang sport utility electric vehicles to Norway.

Last summer, BYD announced partnerships with dealers in several European countries to distribute its vehicles. In September of this year, BYD began selling its electric vehicles to customers in Australia. According to the company, the company exported around 7,000 electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids from China this month.

The company announced European pre-sale prices for three of its popular passenger EV models two weeks ago. They will be made available to customers in the Scandinavian countries, but also in Luxembourg and Germany, home for old car brands such as Volkswagen AG. The sale will be rolled out to France and the UK by the end of this year, the company said.

And as BYD tries to conquer the global electric vehicle market, BYD is moving to produce more passenger cars overseas. Last month, the company struck a deal with Thai industrial real estate developer WHA Group to set up an overseas electric vehicle factory on Thailand’s east coast. The plant is expected to deliver 150,000 passenger electric vehicles in 2024, WHA said at the time.

Meanwhile, Mr Musk addressed China’s thorny territorial issues in an interview with the Financial Times. Mr Musk suggested that a special administrative zone should be set up for the self-governing island of Taiwan, similar to Hong Kong’s relationship with mainland China. His comments were welcomed by Chinese Ambassador to Washington Qin Gang, who tweeted his thanks to Mr Musk for the proposal on Sunday.

China views Taiwan as an integral part of its territory, which must be reunited with the motherland by force if necessary.

write to Selina Cheng at [email protected]

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